The DevCom Workshop’s overall mission is twofold: First to introduce students of international development to the systematic use of development communications, especially to the power of using the video camera as a field notebook; second to produce short documentaries about development both to model low-cost, effective documentary film-making and in the classroom, to demonstrate how well-designed short films can bring to life for students some key issues of international development.
For students and teachers of development, the random access character of digital media allows teachers to call-up materials to illustrate a variety of points of view and respond flexibly to “teachable moments” as they arise. To capitalize on this potential, DevCom has developed for all its DVDs a Teachers’ Menu to facilitate direct access to all scenes on the DVD random access.
DevCom’s hallmark is the creative collaboration of filmmakers interested in international development, and social scientists interested in using film to clarify development issues. Workshop brings together filmmaker and social science mentors and students of development who seek to develop an understanding of how digital media can be used to multiply the effectiveness of their knowledge of international development. Helping to facilitate this interactive process, the Communications Program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government annually sponsors several DevCom workshops. In addition, individual consultations with mentors help students to produce more effective multimedia products. Three of DevCom’s films were commissioned by Harvard Kennedy School faculty.
The DevCom website supports the organization’s mission by facilitating participant information exchange, providing access to recordings of past workshops, showing samples of student work, and promoting the distribution of DevCom productions through its e-store at CreateSpace. While currently little used, the Forum provides a potential discussion framework for workshop participants and mentors. Suggesting other possible uses, we configured a section of the forum to support a faculty member’s need for an online forum.